The Best Art Street in NYC? It’s Not What You’d Expect



When looking for the best area to explore the city’s art scene, people are sure to suggest the Chelsea galleries or Museum Mile. Great choices, for sure, but we have a different idea. From a supercool museum to edgy galleries and a world-famous mural, the Bowery is the best undercover art street in NYC.

New Museum
235 Bowery

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Why It’s Cool:

It’s the only major museum in New York City exclusively dedicated to contemporary art. From a stacked-box facade designed by Tokyo-based architects to internationally renowned (and obscure) exhibitions, there’s a consistent freshness at the New Museum.

Don’t Miss:

The Barbara Rossi: Poor Traits exhibit includes wild cartoonish graphite drawings by an original Chicago imagist, and it’s only up through the end of the year. The works have elements of Japanese woodblock prints, abstract expressionism and comic books.

Distance to the Next Spot:

341 feet; a one-minute walk

Sperone Westwater Art Gallery257 Bowery

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Why It’s Cool:

On top of its funky interior design, the building’s all-glass, rectangular facade is a highlight of the Bowery. The 300-square-foot elevator is sometimes used as an extension of the main gallery space.

Don’t Miss:

Only on view for two more months, Nanda Vigo’s solo exhibition is the first of its kind in the U.S. The radical Italian sculptor’s Trigger of Space—a thirty-year-old mirror installation—is among her most notable works on display.

Distance to the Next Spot:

23 feet; a ten-second walk

Soho Contemporary Art259 Bowery

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Why It’s Cool:

This gallery space has one of the most impressive lineups in the city. On any given day you can find works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring hanging on the walls.

Don’t Miss:

Pop-painter Burton Morris pays homage to Andy Warhol with Coke 100. Celebrating over a century of America’s favorite soda, Morris created 100 prints depicting Coke bottles in various outlines, set at different angles. The work will be on display through December.

Distance to the Next Spot:

476 feet; a two-minute walk

Bowery Mural
Bowery and Houston St.

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Why It’s Cool:

In the seventies, local activist and painter Keith Haring turned this wall into an iconic NYC intersection. Owned by Goldman Properties, the wall was officially opened up as a rotating street art exhibit in 2008, and has since become the canvas for works by Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos and Martha Cooper.

Don’t Miss:

NYC street art legend Futura created the current work: Concrete Jungle is black, grey and white, with rips, wires and towers mixed throughout. It’s a bleak yet moving work, which will be up for an uncertain amount of time. (So go see it today!)

Distance to the Next Spot:

230 feet; a one-minute walk

DBGB Kitchen and Bar
299 Bowery

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Why It’s Cool:

This isn’t technically a gallery or museum, but hear us out, DBGB’s hot dogs are works of art. Plus, you’re bound to be hungry after your epic art crawl. Named for CBGB’s—the legendary, now-closed NYC punk rock venue on the Bowery—the kitchen and bar serves up some of the most colorful and creative dishes in the city.

Don’t Miss:

The restaurant is known for serving some of the best hot dogs in New York City. Its eponymous dog comes covered in relish, sauteed onions, mustard and ketchup. For a spicier dog, try Thai on a Bunwith green papaya slaw, peanuts, cilantro and Sriracha.

Distance to the First Bowery Spot:

1,000 feet; a three-minute walk

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